Since the moment that Amy Coney-Barrett was nominated to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court this past Saturday, this remarkable woman has faced a continual assault from critics questioning her ability to sit on the highest court in the land. These attacks stem from a fear that she represents the fifth pivotal vote which could overturn Roe v Wade. It has been an unrelenting assault not on who she is as a Judge, but who she is as a person. In present day America, one of the most prevalent tools of debate is an ad hominin attack, criticizing and delegitimizing someone personally, rather than deconstructing their arguments or exposing who they are professionally. There has been very little critique of her jurisprudence by a detailed examination of her written rulings as a Federal Appeals Judge. Her critics have mainly gone after her personally.
Her critics started by attacking her religion even though Article VI, Clause 3 of our Constitution clearly states, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” They have called her an extreme Catholic who wants to impose her extreme lifestyle on American women. Others have accused her of misogyny by linking her to the 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which promotes a male-dominated society and subservient women simply because she was a member of a religious organization, People of Praise, a supposed secretive Catholic group which is really an ecumenical Christian organization with over 100 million members worldwide.
This supposed misogynist, religious zealot graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rhodes College, and Summa Cum Laude from Notre Dame Law School where she was a Professor of Law for 15 years, earning Distinguished Professor of the Year award three times. She currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the first and only woman to occupy an Indiana seat on the Seventh Circuit. These attacks are as cruel as they are unfounded.
But the most unbelievable destructive personal attack on Amy Coney-Barrett has been the charge of racism. This is the most pervasive form of ad hominin attack in our culture. If you can paint your opponent as a racist, you do not need to build an argument to refute their claims, no evidence or facts are needed to prove them wrong. If you disagree with someone or want to discredit them, simply call them a racist regardless of whether you have any proof of that claim. If the label sticks, they are immediately discredited and you have won the argument because racists have no credibility in our society. This is an intellectually lazy but extremely effective tactic especially toward other like-minded intellectual sloths.
Boston University professor Ibram X Kendi called Amy Coney-Barrett a “white colonizer” and that she was “using them(her adopted children) as props” in her “lifelong pictures of denial” of her racism. Feminist author Christine Grimaldi tweeted, “Amy Coney Barrett weaponizing her white womanhood to grab whatever power managed to slip through the cracks in the Trump administration’s unrelenting misogyny,”
Amy Coney-Barrett is the mother of 7 children. The youngest has Downs Syndrome. Two of her seven children are adopted orphans from Haiti. So, now, a working mother of 7, raising two orphaned children from Haiti and a special needs child, who has achieved in her career more than 99% of the men in her chosen profession is a racist and misogynist? The evidence proves otherwise.
There are real racists and misogynists in this world. And it is important that they be identified, so we as a people can eradicate that type of thinking from the world. But Amy Coney-Barrett is not a racist nor a misogynist. She is the furthest thing from those vile accusations. Regardless of whether you agree with her politics and constitutional views, it is hard to deny that Amy Coney-Barrett represents the best of humanity, what we all should strive for.
On the same day she found out she was pregnant with her fifth child, the adoption agency called, saying that there was a 3-year-old Haitian refugee who was orphaned by the most recent earthquake in that country. She and her husband discussed the situation and staring down the extra responsibilities of adding a 3 year old and a newborn to her family in the same year, she said, “if life’s really hard, at least it’s short.” But then she thought, ‘what greater thing can you do than raise children? That’s where you have your greatest impact on the world.’ And this is the person they want to vilify and prevent from sitting on the Supreme Court? If the Supreme Court were to have a moral compass, wouldn’t “what greater thing can you do than raise children?” be the best one to have.
It is evident that her adopted children are not props used to whitewash her racism, nor is her having seven children some form of anti-feminist life choice. She views her role as mother, and parenting in general as the greatest thing she can do in the world, far beyond any impact she will make in the Supreme Court. And that’s the way it should be. Shouldn’t we worry more about an ego-centric Supreme Court nominee who only put themselves and their career first, and their family second?
She views having her children and raising them the right way as a much greater stance for feminism and woman’s rights than if she chose to have her five children ripped out of her uterus. Maybe, if the rest of the world viewed parenting their children in the same light as Amy Coney-Barrett most of the problems we are dealing with right now as a country would go away.
False accusations of racism and misogyny are thrown around these days purely for political purposes so often, that they have lost their meaning to the point that when a real racist or misogynist shows his ugly head, no one will pay any attention to that accusation because it will be seen as just another political partisan attack that has no basis in reality. From Tawana Brawley to Jesse Smollet to Bubba Wallace, each false charge of racism and hate crime makes the real charges less believable.
This has been going on far too often in recent years but the attacks on Amy Coney-Barrett are especially appalling and dangerous because not only is there not a shred of truth to these accusations, she is the exact opposite of what she is being accused of. But Amy Coney-Barrett has and will handle these vicious, vile and false attacks with the same grace she has handle every other part of her life. And it is that grace which makes many of us re-evaluate our own lives, and maybe that’s why her critics are so many, and so fierce.